Are Oscar Fish Easy To Keep? (And how to keep them)

If you want to keep Oscar Fish, but wondering, are they easy to keep? then you are in the right place.

In which article, I am going to answer the same question.

By the end of this article, you will know if keeping Oscar fish is easy for you or not. 

I’ll also tell you how to build and maintain a happy and healthy Oscar fish tank.

So, are Oscar Fish easy to keep?

Oscar fish are not the easiest fish to keep. They are pretty aggressive and can grow pretty large so they require special care.

This is the reason keeping Oscar Fish is only recommended to the aquarists who have some experience in fish keeping.

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Oscar Fish behavior and intelligence

Generally, Oscar Fish are infamous for their aggressive behavior.

But it is not like they just get mad at other fish for no reason.

First of all, Oscar Fish predator fish, and in the wild, it mostly feeds on small insects and fish.

So if you keep incompatible fish i.e. small fish that can easily fit into the mouth of Oscar in your Oscar fish tank then it is most likely get eaten by the Oscar fish.

Also, Oscar Fish are very territorial, and if other fish invade in their territory they get pretty aggressive and chase them out.

Besides, there are several reasons for Oscar fish aggression:

  • They will get aggressive if they are not getting the ideal environment i.e. water conditions in the tank
  • They will get aggressive if they are not getting sufficient food.

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Oscar fish intelligence

Oscar Fish are also very intelligent fish.

They can recognize their owner and this is the reason they are also known as River dog or Water dog.

Besides, they can also arrange their tank according to their liking.

So don’t get surprised if you found your Oscar Fish moving rocks and gravel in the tank.

They even uproot the plants if they don’t like it.

If you are curious about Oscar Fish’ behavior and intelligence then I have written a very detailed article on this topic here.

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Types of Oscar Fish

types of oscar fish infographic

There are different types of Oscar Fish like Lemon Oscar Fish, Tiger Oscar Fish, Albino Oscar Fish, Golden Oscar Fish, Green Oscar Fish, etc.

Almost all of these Oscar fish require similar water conditions and they grow up to the similar size.

Mostly, the difference between these different types of Oscar Fish is they have different colors and/or patterns.

Among these Oscar fish, some are natural and others are artificial.

What I mean by artificial is that they are dyed artificially to get the color like blueberry, blue, etc.

This practice is considered very cruel. Besides, after some time their color fades away.

I have written a detailed article covering all types of Oscar Fish with their images and video in this article.

Oscar Fish size

One of the reasons Oscar Fish are considered difficult to keep is that they can grow pretty big.

Generally, Oscar Fish can grow up to 12 to 13 inches long in captivity but if you take good care of it then it can even grow up to 15 inches.

Besides, Oscar Fish grows at a very fast rate of 1 inch per month.

So, for their fast growth and development, you have to feed them high-quality foods.

As they grow pretty large they also produce a lot of bioloads. And so you have to install a powerful filter and keep up with the water changes.

Or else it can stress the fish, cause diseases, and can even cause death.

How to keep Oscar Fish in an aquarium?

To successfully keep Oscar Fish in your aquarium, you should try to emulate their natural habitat.

Mostly, Oscar Fish is found in the Amazon basin.

It is a tropical fish and it requires warm water.

In The wild, it feeds on small insects, small fish, crustaceans, and plant matter.

Oscar Fish care guide

tips to take care of oscar fish infographic

Oscar Fish are not very delicate fish but there are some specific requirements for their proper growth and development.

If they don’t get the ideal environment then it can hamper their growth and can cause diseases.

1. Food

Though Oscar fish are omnivorous, their diet mostly consists of meaty foods.

There is a decent variety of food you can feed to your Oscar Fish.

Flakes and pellets

In your aquarium, on a daily basis, you should feed high-quality Cichlids flakes and pallets to your Oscar Fish.

These flakes and pellets contain all the essential nutrients that your Oscar Fish need for their proper growth.

They are also very convenient to store and feed.

Unlike live food, they don’t carry any risk of transferring harmful bacteria or viruses in your tank.

Live food

Live food is the most nutritious food you can feed to your Oscar Fish.

You can feed live food like live bloodworms, brine shrimp, mealworms, blackworms, etc to your Oscar Fish.

You can also feed feeder fish like Goldfish to your Oscar Fish.

But, keep in mind that live food also carries the risk of transferring harmful bacteria and viruses in the tank. So you should get live food from a reputed source.

Besides, this is the reason live food should not be the primary food source for your Oscar Fish.

You should feed live food as a treat occasionally.

Also, live food has a very short shelf life so you should feed it within a couple of days.

Frozen food

Frozen foods are also very nutritious and unlike live food, they don’t carry any risk of transferring harmful bacteria and viruses in your tank.

You can feed frozen foods like frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, etc to your Oscar Fish.

Frozen food also has a longer shelf life and it is very convenient to store and feed.

Fruits and vegetables

As Oscar Fish are omnivorous, occasionally, you should also feed them fruits and vegetables.

You can feed them several fruits and vegetables like spinach, cucumber, oranges, banana, etc.

Remember that fruits and vegetables should not be their primary diet and you should feed them occasionally.

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2. Water parameters

Maintaining ideal water parameters is very important for the survival of Oscar Fish.

If you keep Oscar Fish in a tank that doesn’t have the ideal water parameters then it can damage its immune system that can potentially cause disease, worst, it can even cause death!

Temperature

Oscar Fish is a tropical fish and it comes from the Amazon basin.

In its natural habitat, it lives in warmer water so you should emulate the same in your tank.

The ideal temperature for Oscar Fish is between 74 to 81° Fahrenheit.

So, you should make sure that the temperature of the water in your Oscar fish tank always remains within this ideal range.

If you noticed a lower temperature than the ideal temperature range then you should adjust your heater to raise the temperature.

If you noticed a high temperature then you can use these ways to lower the temperature.

You should also avoid frequent fluctuations in temperature throughout the day in your Oscar fish tank.

pH and hardness

The pH tolerance range for Oscar Fish is between 6 to 8 and the hardness tolerance range for Oscar Fish is between 5 to 20 KH.

Usually, pH and hardness remain within the ideal range but you should regularly check it.

Oxygen

Oscar Fish cannot survive without the optimum level of oxygen.

Some signs of low oxygen level include:

  • Oscar Fish coming to the surface of the tank gasping for air
  • Rapid gills movements of the Oscar Fish

So if you noticed any of these signs then chances are your fish tank doesn’t contain optimum level of oxygen.

In this case, you can use these ways to increase oxygen in your tank.

Nitrogen compounds

Nitrogen compounds like Ammonia can be deadly for your Oscar Fish.

Oscar Fish are very large fish and they produce a lot of Bioload.

There are a few things you can do to keep ammonia levels under control in your Oscar fish tank.

  • First of all, you should keep Oscar Fish in a large tank (more on this later)
  • You should install a powerful filter to filter the water
  • You should regularly do the weekly water change
oscar fish care infographic

Oscar Fish tank mates

You can keep other Oscars with your Oscar Fish or you can even keep other species of fish with your Oscar Fish as tank mates.

Keeping Oscars together

Ideally, you should keep other Oscars with your Oscar Fish just because of the fact that they require similar water conditions, food, etc.

But Oscar Fish are aggressive and when you keep multiple Oscars together they are most likely going to fight with each other. 

So there are a few things you should keep in mind to reduce the aggression between Oscar Fish.

1. Tank size

Oscar Fish are territorial fish and they create their territories in the tank.

Besides, Oscar Fish grows pretty large and they produce a lot of bioloads.

For these reasons, Oscar fish requires a large tank.

The minimum tank size for a single Oscar Fish is 55 gallons.

And while keeping multiple Oscars together, for every new Oscar Fish, you should add an extra 20 to 30 gallons.

For example, if you are going to keep two Oscars in the same tank then ideally, you should keep them in a 75-gallon tank.

Oscar Fish Tank Size (A Complete Guide)

2. Food

As mentioned earlier, Oscar Fish grows pretty large and so they require a lot of food to keep up with the growth.

But it doesn’t mean that you should feed Oscars all the time because overfeeding can also cause issues.

Feeding sufficient food is especially important when you are keeping multiple Oscars together.

Because if you don’t provide them sufficient food then they will compete for food with each other and this can lead to aggression.

Ideally, you should feed them the amount of food they can consume within 3 minutes.

How Long Can Oscar Fish Go Without Eating?

3. Maintain ideal water parameters

Not maintaining the ideal water parameters in your Oscar fish tank is another reason for Oscar fish aggression.

So, to avoid aggression, you should always keep the water parameters within the tolerance range of Oscar fish.

The various water parameters tolerance range for Oscar fish is as follows:

  • Temperature between 74 to 81° Fahrenheit
  • pH between 6 to 8
  • Hardness between 5 to 20 KH

Overall, if you provide sufficient food and maintain the water parameters within the tolerance range then your Oscars will live happily and thrive in your tank.

Besides, Oscar Fish are very territorial so sometimes you will notice them fighting with each other.

And, in such cases, there is nothing to worry about. It is just their natural behavior.

If you are curious, how Oscar Fish fight then watch the following video.

Can Oscar Fish Live Alone?

Keeping other species of fish with Oscar Fish

Though Oscar Fish are known to be very aggressive fish, there are are several species of fish you can keep in your Oscar fish tank.

How to choose tank mates for Oscar Fish?

There are a few things you should keep in mind while selecting tankmates for Oscar Fish

  • The fish should not be small enough to fit into the mouth of your Oscar Fish. Or else, it will most likely get eaten by your Oscar fish.
  • The fish should be semi-aggressive so that it can hold its own against Oscar Fish.
  • The ideal water parameters that the fish require should be similar to that of Oscar Fish. So that they can happily live and thrive in the same tank.

These are the general guidelines you should keep in mind while selecting tank mates for Oscar Fish.

Usually, other cichlids that grow similar to the size of Oscar Fish are good tank mates for Oscar Fish.

Best tank mates for Oscar Fish

Now I am going to mention a few species of fish that you can keep with your Oscar Fish.

If you want to read a detailed article about best tank mates for Oscar fish where I have covered 12 tank mates then you should definitely check out this article.

1. Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey
PARAMETERSVALUES
FISHJack Dempsey
SCIENTIFIC NAMERocio octofasciata
FAMILYCichlidae
CARE LEVELIntermediate
MAXIMUM SIZE15 Inches
AVERAGE LIFESPAN8-10 Years
DIETCarnivore
WATER TEMPERATURE72-86°F
WATER pH6-7
WATER HARDNESS9-20 dGH
BREEDINGEgg layers
MINIMUM TANK CAPACITY80 Gallons

Jack Dempsey is one of the best fish you can keep with your Oscar Fish.

This fish belongs to the Cichlids family so it is naturally aggressive and can hold its own against Oscar Fish.

Besides, this fish can grow pretty large, similar to the size of Oscar fish i.e. 15 inches.

And it requires the similar water conditions that your Oscar Fish require. So you can easily keep them together in the same tank.

2. Pleco

Pleco

Image by Lauricdd under CC BY-SA 4.0

PARAMETERSVALUES
FISHPleco
SCIENTIFIC NAMEHypostomus plecostomus
FAMILYLoricariidae
CARE LEVELMedium
MAXIMUM SIZE24 inches
AVERAGE LIFESPAN10-15 Years
DIETOmnivore
WATER TEMPERATURE74-80°F
WATER pH7-8
WATER HARDNESS3-10
BREEDINGEgg layers
MINIMUM TANK CAPACITY30+ Gallons

Pleco is another good fish to keep you can keep in your Oscar fish tank.

Pleco is a bottom dweller fish so it spends most of its time near the substrate of the tank foraging for food.

Oscar Fish rarely comes near the bottom of the tank so so they will not bother each other.

Besides, Pleco is a nocturnal fish which basically means that it stays active during the night and it hides behind any object or plant during the day.

So basically, it will stay active when your Oscar Fish is inactive and it will hide behind any object or plants when your Oscar Fish is active so they will not bother each other.

Also, Pleco can tolerate a wide range of water parameters so you can easily keep it in your Oscar fish tank.

Besides, Pleco feeds on algae so it will help to keep algae in control in your tank.

Pleco can grow pretty large. It can grow as large as 24 inches and this is the reason you should keep Pleco in your Oscar fish tank if it is large enough i.e. it is at least 90 gallons.

3. Silver Dollar

Silver Dollar

Image by Haplochromis under CC BY 2.0

PARAMETERSVALUES
FISHSilver Dollar
FAMILYCharacidae
CARE LEVELIntermediate
MAXIMUM SIZE6 inches
AVERAGE LIFESPAN10 years
DIETOmnivores
WATER TEMPERATURE75-82°F
WATER pH5.5-7.5
WATER HARDNESS4-18 dGH
BREEDINGEgg layers
MINIMUM TANK CAPACITY75 gallons

Silver Dollar is one of the most popular schooling fish in the aquarium hobby.

This is a very active schooling fish. 

It got its name because of its unique shape. This fish looks similar to that of an old silver dollar.

Now Silver Dollar is a very peaceful fish and it cannot hold its own against Oscar Fish.

But if you keep Silver Dollar in at least a group of 5 to 6 then it can easily survive in your Oscar fish tank.

Because then Oscar Fish will not be able to target only one Silver Dollar fish and kill it.

Silver dollar requires similar water conditions that an Oscar Fish requires. So you can easily keep them together in the same tank.

Besides, Silver Dollar can grow up to 6 inches so it will not fit into the mouth of your Oscar Fish and get eaten.

There are several other varieties of fish you can keep in your Oscar fish tank.

You can read the full list of tank mates for Oscar fish here.

oscar fish tank mates

The ideal tank setup for Oscar Fish

Oscar Fish can grow pretty large and it requires a specific environment to thrive in the tank.

So, now we are going to talk about the ideal tank setup for Oscar Fish.

Tank size

Oscar Fish can grow at a very fast rate of 1 inch per month.

And, usually, it grows up to 12 to 13 inches long in a fish tank.

But if you take good care of it then it can grow up to 15 inches.

And for the proper development and growth of Oscar Fish, tank size plays a very important role.

As Oscar Fish grows pretty large it requires a large tank. The ideal tank size for a single Oscar Fish is 55 gallons.

You can keep Juvenile or baby Oscar Fish in a small tank. But as mentioned earlier, Oscar Fish grows at a very fast rate. And after a few months, you will have to put it in a larger tank.

Oscar Fish with tank mates

If you are going to keep other Oscar Fish or other species of fish with your Oscar Fish then you will need to keep them in even a larger tank.

A general rule of thumb to follow if you are going to keep multiple Oscar Fish in the same tank is-  55 gallons for your first Oscar and then additional 20-30 gallons for every new Oscar Fish.

For example, if you are going to keep three Oscar Fish in the same tank then you should keep them in at least a 95-gallon tank.

Some people keep multiple Oscars in a relatively smaller tank (Like in the above video). 

But as Oscar Fish produces a lot of bioloads, you will have to do the water changes very frequently.

By following the rule I have mentioned above, doing water change once a day will be sufficient to keep the bioload under control.

If you are going to keep other species of fish with your Oscar Fish as tank mates then you will have to look into the maximum size of that species of fish. And the ideal tank size for them and then you can choose tank size accordingly.

If you are going to keep other species of fish with your Oscar fish then it is very difficult for me to tell the exact ideal tank size.

One thing you should always keep in mind when it comes to tank size for Oscar Fish is the more is always better.

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Tank lid

Oscar Fish are jumpers and they can jump out of your time tank.

That’s why it is very important to choose the tank with a lid for your Oscar Fish.

Now Oscar Fish doesn’t just continuously try to jump out of the tank without any reason.

Usually, Oscar fish try to jump out of the tank if it is not getting the ideal environment in the tank.

I have written a detailed article on this topic and I have also covered how to prevent Oscar Fish from jumping out of the tank in this article.

Filter

Oscar Fish grows pretty large. And it produces a lot of bioloads. 

That’s why it is very important to have a reliable, powerful filter for your Oscar fish tank.

Besides, the filter is also the place where the beneficial bacteria that help to keep ammonia levels in control in your tank make their colonies.

If you want to get a good reliable filter for Oscar fish tank then I have written a detailed article about the best canister filter. You can check it out here.

Heater

Oscar Fish is a tropical fish and it requires slightly warmer water in the tank.

The ideal temperature for Oscar Fish is between 74 to 81° Fahrenheit.

If the temperature of the water is lower than the ideal range then it can damage the immune system of Oscar Fish that causes diseases.

Besides, if you keep Oscar Fish at a lower temperature for a long time then eventually it will die.

Overall, maintaining the ideal temperature in the Oscar fish tank is very important.

To maintain the temperature you will most likely need a heater. So, you should install a quality heater in your tank to keep the aquarium worm.

Checkout our heater recommendation

Air pump

Oscar Fish require oxygen to survive in the tank.

Without the optimum level of oxygen, Oscar Fish cannot survive and thrive in your aquarium.

Usually, low oxygen is not an issue in a fish tank.

But there are a few signs that suggest that your fish tank doesn’t have sufficient oxygen.

  • If you noticed your Oscar Fish coming on the surface of the tank gasping for air then it is a sign of low oxygen levels.
  • If you noticed rapid gills moment of your Oscar Fish then it is a sign that your Oscar is struggling to get oxygen.

If you noticed any of these signs then most likely your fish tank doesn’t have the optimum level of oxygen.

And the simplest way to increase oxygen levels in your tank is to install an air pump in your tank. Check out our recommended Air Pump

Plants

You may have heard that Oscar Fish hate plants. And if you keep live plants in Oscar fish tank then it is most likely going to get destroyed by the Oscar Fish.

Well, it is true up to a certain extent.

Oscar Fish are very intelligent fish and they can even redesign their tank according to their liking.

If for some reason your Oscar Fish doesn’t like the live plants in the tank then your Oscar Fish can uproot it.

But there are lots of benefits of keeping live plants in the tank.

  • It gives you an opportunity to design your tank according to your liking and give it a unique look
  • It helps to oxygenate the tank
  • It also helps to filter the water
  • And much more

Besides, there are some species of plants Oscar Fish usually don’t bother if you keep them in their tank.

I have written a detailed article on this topic covering the plants.

You can check it out here.

6 Tips to Take Care of Live Plants in Aquarium

Lighting

Oscar Fish doesn’t really require additional lighting if it is getting natural daylight.

But if you are going to keep plants in Oscar fish tank then depending on the plant you may require additional lighting.

Decorations

Decorations are not absolutely necessary to keep in Oscar fish tank.

But they help to emulate the natural habitat of Oscar Fish.

And they offer you an opportunity to design your tank according to your liking and give it a unique look.

So, you can add different types of decoration in your Oscar Fish tank like driftwood, rocks, bridges, etc.

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Conclusion

I hope this article has cleared your doubts related to Oscar Fish.

And now you have a better understanding if Oscar Fish is easy for you to keep or not.

Generally, Oscar Fish is not the easiest fish to keep and you should only consider keeping it if you have some experience in fish keeping.

I hope you found this article helpful.

If you do, please share it.

Happy fishkeeping!

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